Last updated June 8, 2015
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Empowering Social Workers for Practice with Vulnerable Older Adults

Barbara Soniat and Monica Melady Micklos

This is a wonderfully helpful book for professionals who work with older adults in a variety of settings. The Capacity-Risk Model described by the authors streamlines the assessment process and helps the professional make challenging intervention decisions including the decision of intervening on the clientís behalf vs. allowing the client self determination. I used the Model repeatedly in my work as manager of older adult programs in a public agency, and found it to be an extremely useful tool for workers in the field with their clients and for supervisory consultations with staff. I am delighted that Barbara Soniat and Monica Micklos have finally published this important work.

Henriette Kellum, LCSW

Supervisor of older adult programs in a public agency 28 years, mental health therapist in private practice


Empowering Social Workers for Practice with Vulnerable Older Adults is a must read for social worker practitioners, no matter their field of practice or area of specialization.

This volume builds upon the conceptual and theoretical framework promulgated by Barbara Solomon (1976). Thus, the design and content of this volume give further impetus to the importance of Empowerment as a frame of reference for social work practice and sets forth a practice model relative to geriatrics social care, treatment and management.

This volume also addresses the importance of social workers contributing their knowledge and skills relative to the assessment of patient and family needs, care planning, transitions and continuity of care for vulnerable adults and the elderly regardless of their income, environmental factors, family situations and psychosocial dimensions.

Empowerment is envisioned as a supportive and powerful tool in the areas of geriatric social work practice involving stimulation, innovation, motivation and collaboration. This volume speaks to the ripeness of time for social workers to assist in helping to create loving, caring and appropriate environments for the continued growth, development and transition of vulnerable older adults.

The References (Selected) provide an additional, helpful scope to this practice model.

Dr. Bernice Catherine Harper, MSW, LLD


Here is an ideal practitioners' tool: Soniat and Micklos address critical issues of capacity assessment and work with involuntary vulnerable older adults using a practical model based on specific indicator-driven questions. The comprehensive presentation of concepts of capacity and risk, as well as social workers' critical contribution to their assessment and intervention, is grounded in research and evidence whenever possible. Illuminating case material pulls it all together.

Betsy Vourlekis

Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland School of Social Work